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TGFβ signaling supports survival and metastasis of endometrial cancer cells

Authors Lei X, Wang L, Yang J, Sun L

Published 1 April 2009 Volume 2009:1 Pages 15—24


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XiuFen Lei, Long Wang, Junhua Yang, Lu-Zhe Sun

Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA

Abstract: The association of mutation of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) type II receptor (RII) with microsatellite instability revealed a significant molecular mechanism oftumorigenesis and tumor progression in gastrointestinal carcinomas with DNA replication error. However, mutation of RII is rare in other types of carcinomas with microsatellite instability including endometrial adenocarcinoma suggesting that TGFβ receptor signaling may be necessary for tumor progression. To test this hypothesis, we abrogated TGFβ signaling with ectopic expression of a dominant-negative RII (DNRII) in human endometrial carcinoma HEC-1-A cells with microsatellite instability. Our study showed that over-expression of DNRII blocked the TGFβ signaling, inhibited anchorage-dependent and -independent growth, and stimulated apoptosis in vitro. Interestingly, the expression of DNRII expression showed little effect on tumor growth of subcutaneously inoculated cells in vivo. On the other hand, the DNRII cells showed more epithelial features whereas the control cells showed more mesenchymal features suggesting a reversal of autocrine TGFβ-induced epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). Consistent with these findings, DNRII cells were much less migratory and invasive in vitro and metastatic in vivo than the control cells. Therefore, an intact TGFβ signaling pathway appears necessary for the metastatic phenotypes of this carcinoma model.

Keywords: TGFβ, transforming growth factor β, autocrine TGFβ signaling, human endometrial cancer, metastasis, epithelial–mesenchymal transition

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